President Trump said Monday that his former national security adviser, John Bolton, could face a “criminal problem” if he doesn't halt plans to publish a new book that describes scattershot, sometimes dangerous, decision-making by a president focused only on getting re-elected. Trump said it would be up to Attorney General William Barr to issue any charges, but hinted that the matter would end up in court, the AP reports. “We'll see what happens. They're in court—or they'll soon be in court," Trump said about the book, set to be released June 23. The president accused Bolton of not completing a pre-publication review to make sure the book does not contain classified material. That contradicts statements from Bolton's attorney, who says his client worked painstakingly for months with classification specialists at the White House National Security Council to make changes to avoid releasing classified material.
Barr echoed Trump's accusation. During an event at the White House, the attorney general said administration officials who have access to sensitive information typically sign non-disclosure agreements that require them to go through a clearance process before they can publish something based on information they accessed in the job. “We don’t believe that Bolton went through that process—hasn’t completed the process—and, therefore, is in violation of that agreement,” Barr said. The Trump administration is “trying to get them to complete the process—go through the process—and make the necessary deletions of classified information,” Barr said. But Bolton's lawyer says the White House is attempting "to use national security as a pretext to censor Mr. Bolton, in violation of his constitutional right to speak on matters of the utmost public import." (Click for much more on the ins and outs of the pre-publication review process.)